Enbrel and Humira are two medications that can help treat rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition with symptoms, such as joint pain and stiffness. The purpose of these drugs is to lower inflammation in the joints.
TNF blockers have uses in the treatment of conditions that include:
- Psoriatic arthritis: A form of arthritis in people with psoriasis, which is an autoimmune condition that affects the skin.
- Plaque psoriasis: An autoimmune condition, causing dry, itchy patches on the skin.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: A form of spinal arthritis that impacts the back.
- Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease: Autoimmune conditions, causing inflammation of the digestive tract.
- Hidradenitis suppurativa: A chronic skin condition that causes painful lumps.
Both Enbrel and Humira are injectable drugs.
Enbrel comes in the following forms:
- a prefilled syringe
- an autoinjector, which injects the medication with the press of a button
- a multiple dose vial
Humira comes in the following forms:
- a prefilled pen
- a prefilled syringe
People may find prefilled pens and autoinjectors more convenient, easier to use, and less intimidating than syringes. Syringes require more practice and experience.
A doctor should determine the drug, dosage, and form that is right for every individual. It is vital to follow the advice of a doctor when taking either medication.
- Use the original carton to protect the medication from light or physical damage.
- Keep the drugs in the fridge between 36°F–46°F (2°C–8°C).
- When refrigeration is unavailable, keep the medicine at room temperature between 68°F—77°F (20°C–25°C) for up to 14 days.
- Throw the medication away after 14 days at room temperature.
- Never freeze either of these drugs.
Enbrel and Humira are both widely available and have similar costs, but the actual price a person will pay depends on their insurance plan.
Pharmacies will typically carry both, but it is always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they are in stock.
Many insurance plans cover both medications, but it is advisable for people to check with their insurance provider, so that they are sure.
It is essential to speak with a doctor and pharmacist and to read the information in the medication box, regarding their side effects.
Common side effects of these drugs include:
- sinus infection
- reaction at the injection site
More serious side effects include:
- blood problems
- nervous system problems
- higher risk of certain types of cancer
- skin reactions, such as new or worsening psoriasis
- serious infections
- allergic reactions
- autoimmune reactions
- onset of or worsening congestive heart failure
It is important to discuss all medications, vitamins, herbs, and supplements with a doctor to prevent harmful interactions and ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.
According to the official documentation, people using Humira should not use it with a number of other RA drugs.
Documentation on the Enbrel website states that people should not take it if they are having a chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide, as well as other RA drugs.
Many RA drugs could potentially make a hepatitis B virus infection active in those who have the virus.
Individuals with hepatitis B taking such drugs may experience:
- yellowing skin
- pain on the right side of the stomach, and low appetite when taking medication
An active infection can have serious consequences, including liver failure and death.
Before a person receives RA drugs such as Enbrel or Humira, a doctor will order a blood test to ensure there is no hepatitis B infection.
Enbrel and Humira are very similar medications that people with RA use to relieve their symptoms.
The slight difference between the drugs may make one or the other a better choice. Whether or not either drug is appropriate depends on each case.
People should talk to a doctor to learn more about Enbrel and Humira and discuss what the best option may be.